By Bernie Woodall and Ben Klayman
DETROIT — Ford Motor’s third-quarter earnings fell 34 percent but beat Wall Street expectations on a strong showing in North America even as revenue fell due to the cost of introducing the F-150 pickup truck.
Ford’s launch of its aluminum-bodied F-150 is on track, the company said Friday. A 3 percent drop in third-quarter revenue to $ 34.9 billion is largely linked to the planned shutdown of the F-150 plant in Dearborn, Michigan.
Excluding one-time items, Ford reported earnings of 24 cents a share, which beat expectations of 19 cents from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Three cents of that beat stemmed from operating results in North America and the rest from lower tax rates.
Ford’s third-quarter profit margin of 7.1 percent in North America lagged the 9.5 percent that crosstown rival General Motors (GM) reported Thursday. Excluding recall costs, Ford’s margin would have been 10.2 percent.
Ford last month warned that its pretax profit this year would be $ 6 billion, down from a previous forecast of $ 7 billion to $ 8 billion, and that recall costs in North America would be $ 1 billion.
About $ 630 million of the recall costs came in the third quarter, which cut the company’s operating margin in North America, said Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks.
The profit margin excluding recall costs of 10.2 percent was lower than the year-earlier 10.9 percent due to F-150 introduction costs, Shanks said.
Ford’s net profit of $ 835 million, or 21 cents a share, was down 34 percent from $ 1.27 billion, or 31 cents a share, a year earlier.
The company continued to lose money in Europe and in South America while being profitable in Asia as well as North America.
Ford’s loss in Europe widened to $ 439 million from $ 182 million a year ago, mainly due to weakness in Russia.
The company continued its steady gains in China, where it reached 4.7 percent market share, its highest yet.
Shares of Ford were down 5 cents at $ 14.35 in trading before the market opened.